I recently came across this tag on Bee’s blog Vivatramp. I was intrigued by some of the questions and thought I’d give it a go.
1. What books are on your nightstand now?
Right now, there’s a small pile of four books. The first is The Girl on the Train, which has been there since I bought it in June, although I haven’t started it yet. Then there’s Black Water Rising by Attica Locke, which I got halfway through and then put down about six months ago. I might go back to it at some point, but I might not.
Then there are also two books that my mam lent me: The Shadow Girls by Henning Mankell, and The Damage Done by James Oswald. Both of these authors are known for their crime fiction, which both mam and I read a lot of.
2. What was the last truly great book that you read?
I’m not sure about this one – I’ve enjoyed a lot of books, but I think the last one I would call great was The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld, which I read last December.
It’s about a woman who investigates the cases of death row inmates in the hopes of reducing their sentences. A difficult book in terms of the subject matter, but it was so beautifully written that it has stayed with me.
3. If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? And what would you want to know?
It’s not very often I come across a writer that I would really want to meet – sure it would be great to meet someone like Margaret Atwood or Haruki Murakami, but the ones that I’m most interested in are the people who intrigue me in the way their mind works. It might be that I find some similarities with myself in their work, or they write in an unusual way that grabs me and I’d like to talk to them to find out more about their process and how they think.
Sadly, right now, I can’t think of any writers who fit that bill, although there are one or two musicians.
4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
When I travel, I like to buy books as souvenirs so I have several copies of novels in languages I can’t read, bought when I was abroad.
5. How do you organise your personal library?
At the moment, it’s by colour. I had wanted to colour code my shelves for a long time, but only got round to it when we bought our current house two years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of space since then and books are spilling over in no particular order, so the bookcase could do with a good tidy.
6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t got round to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read anything by Charles Dickens, especially since I have a degree in English. There are plenty of books on my shelves I haven’t got round to yet; I can’t keep pace with my book buying habit.
7. Disappointing, over-rated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
There are many. I couldn’t get away with the written dialect in Trainspotting, so never finished it. And I often find that I don’t enjoy the latest ‘it-books’, or the ones that are currently winning awards.
The last book I didn’t finish was Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It went back to the library fairly promptly.
8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
I suppose I love dark and tragic stories, and novels with a supernatural twist. I’m also partial to a good detective story.
I avoid chick lit and fantasy.
9. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
The thing that springs to mind here is that Donald Trump should be forced to read The Handmaid’s Tale, with Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill as supplementary reading.
10. What do you plan to read next?
I’ll be finishing the Harry Potter series (I’m half way through the Half-Blood Prince at the moment) and then I will probably choose between Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, Paper Towns by John Green or An Honest Deceit by Guy Mankowski.